Flashback End-of-Year Edition: The 10 most-read articles of 2020

Eva Menger / December 2020

In a year filled with unexpected events we covered a lot of ground on Think with Google Nordics & Benelux, but there was one topic our readers couldn’t get enough of: consumer behaviour. The digital acceleration prompted by the pandemic put even more pressure on marketers to understand the increasingly complex consumer journey — and so they collectively sought for search trends, shopper insights, and tips on how to better connect with customers through first-party data. To make sure you don’t miss out on the pieces that made the most impact this year, we sifted through the data to uncover the stories our readers loved most in 2020.

10. Digital marketing transformation: A 3-step organisational action plan

With some marketers claiming we’ve seen 10 years’ worth of digital marketing transformation over the past nine months, it can be difficult for companies to keep on top of everything. In this practical guide, we put together the three tactics digitally mature companies use to get the right balance between the role of technology and the employees tasked with using it.

9. How to unlock the power of first-party data

First-party data was top of mind for many businesses in 2020. Using it responsibly can be a critical step for brands looking to improve their overall digital marketing capabilities and build firm foundations for the future. In this article, Google’s Noah Samuels and Boston Consulting Group’s Shilpa Patel share three best practices for companies planning their first-party data strategy, as well as a downloadable BCG report diving deeper into what best-in-class advertisers are doing.

8. Why first-party data is critical for today’s advertisers

People are spending more and more time online to connect, work, and shop — a development that has only accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Sir Martin Sorrell, executive chairman of S4 Capital, and Pete Kim, CEO of MightyHive, advertising must fundamentally change too. Discover why they both feel first-party data should be at the heart of it.

7. 8 ways consumers in the Nordics and Benelux adapted their shopping behaviour this year

To get a better sense of how much consumer behaviour was impacted by the pandemic, Frank Smidt, Retail Marketing team lead at Google Northern Europe took a closer look at Smart Shopper, a study commissioned by Google in May 2020. Using his vast experience, he offers retailers in the Nordics and Benelux eight insights from the study, and tips on what they can do to be there for their customers.

6. Patterns and relevancy: Connecting with customers in a ‘cookieless’ world

As data protection laws continue to evolve around Europe, being privacy-forward is one way for companies to shift their approach. When Arla, Scandinavia’s largest dairy producer, wanted to deliver more personalised customer experiences but couldn’t access the data other industries have access to, they decided to take a different approach.

5. Why A/B testing with first-party data is key to uncovering customer lifetime value

A lot of things didn’t go to plan this year, but treating their business as one big A/B test helped Swedish fintech company Qred quickly adjust to the challenges brought by the pandemic. Not afraid to make mistakes, the company adopted a test and learn approach to reach and convert their most valuable customers through first-party data.

4. Holiday shopping will be different this year — here’s how retailers can adapt

Ahead of this year’s holiday shopping season, Noelia Fernández Arroyo, Director of Sales at Google Northern Europe, shared three ways for retailers to boost their Christmas advertising. And even if you’ve already completed your planning for the festive season, these evergreen insights can help you build an omni-channel approach all year round.

3. How the power of data transformed Volvo’s digital marketing

The customer path to purchase is a complex one, but none more so than in the automotive industry. And understandably so — with a big-ticket item such as a car, consumers take their time in the research phase before committing to a purchase. Discover how creating a bespoke marketing mix model (MMM) helped Volvo Sweden better understand the many different touchpoints of the customer journey, and how its findings helped them navigate the pandemic.

2. How people decide what to buy lies in the “messy middle” of the purchase journey

The purchase journey has changed for good. In this piece, Alistair Rennie and Jonny Protheroe from Google’s consumer insights team share their research on the most critical part of the process — the "messy middle" — and what it means for marketers. We also recently published a follow-up on how consumers make purchase decisions in the context of COVID-19. Read both articles and download the full report for actionable advice and takeaways.

1. 9 free online courses to elevate your digital marketing and leadership skills

When the pandemic hit, we created a one-stop shop of resources to navigate uncertain times. In this article, we share nine free online courses designed to elevate marketers’ skills. In addition to improving your core digital marketing skills, you can find information on free courses with a focus on digital wellbeing, what makes a great leader, how to foster remote collaboration, and tips for better communication via storytelling.

‘Why?’ dominated the 2020 Google Year in Search